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Lecouvreur—whose heroic devotion to him has been presented on the stage of late years with all the passion and power of Rachel--who sold her jewels in order to send him 40,000 francs when he was in want of money in Courland, and who, it is said, was poisoned on his account, the victim of the rage and jealousy of the Duchess de Bouillon. But there is not a vestige of any kind of sensibility on the side of Maurice; and when poor Adrienne died, and priests refused to bury the actress in sacred ground, and her body, amid the indignation of a sorrowing populace, was deposited under a stone at the corner of the Rue de Grenelle and the Rue de Bourgogne, it does not appear Maurice made the slightest effort to get his highspirited and heroic-natured mistress buried decently. His conduct to Madame Favart, one of the leading actresses of the time, and the chief. performer at his camp theatre, was detestable. With all the advantago of his position and court influence, with the aid of lettres de cachet and legal prosecutions, he ruined the husband, separated man and wife, and did not desist from a series of ignoble outrages till he had dishonoured both Favart and his wife, in spite of the lady's repugnance to his advances. He was carried off suddenly on the 3rd of December, 1750, by a fever, according to the general report. The tradition of the neighbourhood, however, which has been traced up to the lips of Maurico's own valet, declares that three days before his death, at eight in the morning, a postchaise entered the park preceded by a courier, and stopped at the end of the avenue.
The courier entered the house with a letter. The Marshal received it in bed, rose, and went out by a private staircase, descended to the park, and there found his old enemy the Prince de Conti, with whom he fought a duel, in which he got a wound which was the cause of his death.
In any case, he died after a very short illness, and his last words on record are those which he spoke to his doctor :-"Docteur, la vie est un songe ; le mien a été beau, mais il est court.”
This Marshal Saxe, the only general in modern times who has had the honour of beating the English, was a character deserving of neither
, unmixed praise, nor unmixed reprobation. Like most of the most noticeable men of the Continent on which he lived, there is a very dark side to his character. But if he was dissolute and depraved in morals, some excuse must be made for the circumstances of his birth, and the vicious court in which he was brought out, and the vile example of the Titanic debauchee who was his father. If he became a condottiere, without a country, or home, or single permanent affection, without a single great interest at heart but his own military success, some excuse also must be made for the necessity which such an energetic nature was under of finding occupation for its stormy and ambitious spirit. As a general wo believe he was better even than his reputation. Notwithstanding the recklessness of his private life, he was prudent in the field, and never risked a battle unless he was assured of success. He had studied military tactics well, as his own production, singularly styled des Rêveries, will prove. These are, in fact, the rêveries of a military man about military
matters. In them are to be found many military truths, noted then for the first time in a pungent form, such as that “battles were now to be won, not by the hands but by the feet," that “good small armies were better than large bad ones,” &c. If the accounts of the battle of Fontenoy be attentively considered, it will not be found that he was in any real perplexity even when the terrible English column advanced across the plain, or that the Duke de Richelieu has any claim to the suggestion of the use of the battery of artillery which broke up the English ranks. Maurice must have been a tyro in military affairs indeed had such a simple measure escaped his notice. His victory at Fontenoy is the more creditable from the heroic resolution with which he overcame the prostrate condition of body in which he was at that period. When Voltaire expressed alarm at his state of health before setting out from Paris, he replied, “Il ne s'agit pas de vivre, mais de partir.”
All the Köningsmark blood, however, did not die out in Maurice. The most distinguished living authoress in France, George Sand, is the greatgrandchild of the victor of Fontenoy, and physiologists may speculate on how much of the wild passion of Indiana, Valentine, and Lelia, is owing to the adventurous spirit and indomitable passions characteristic of the Köningsmark race. The grandmother of George Sand was styled Aurora de Saxe, and was the daughter, illegitimate of course, of Maurice and a young opera-dancer, Marie Rinteau, whose stage name was Malle. Verrières. Aurora de Saxe married twice— firstly, the Comte de Horn, an illegitimate son of Louis XV.; secondly, M. Dupin de Francæuil, a name well known in the French mémoires of the last century. Of this marriage there was a son,. Maurice Dupin, the father of George Sand. In the novelist's biographical work, called Histoire de ma Vie, she gives a very interesting notice of the life of her father, who fought in Italy by the side of La Tour d'Auvergne, and died in 1808, from the effects of a fall from his horse, near Nohant, in Berry, where the authoress still inhabits the family country-seat, and from which province she has gathered the materials for her very truthful rustic sketches. And in the descendants of George Sand the old Köningsmark fire and energy may yet break out again in some way or other and astonish contemporaries.
The Saints of the Stage.
“Those grave and sober actors : "—in such terms are the English players constantly spoken of at the end of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth century. They have had scant justice rendered to them since, in spite of this verdict; and if there be any period of their history when their reputation is now held to have been at its lowest, it is the period we have just named. Gravity and sobriety imply much serious thoughtfulness; and who thought more seriously, or has expressed himself more solemnly on things which concern our great herearter, than a humble actor of the Globe and Blackfriars, who wrote plays for both houses ?
His case was not an exceptional one. While we trace religious thought and expression in Shakspeare's works, we find religious action and exhortation in the letters of Edward Alleyn, his contemporary, and sometime colleague on the stage. For example, in 1593, Alleyn was engaged in the country, while his young wife, Joan Woodward, waited for him in their well-kept house in Bankside. She waited for him with anxiety, for the plague was sweeping both sides of the river, and, in the extremity of her distress, she wrote to him for advice. Alleyn gave her counsel, comfort, and courage. In a letter which is preserved at Dulwich, he says he is "hoping in God, though the sickness be round about you, yet by His mercy it may escape your house, which, by the grace of God, it shall.” But he knew that the grace of God did not, in such cases, visit those who stood with arms folded. God helps those who help themselves ; and Alleyn writes thus sensibly and religiously to his wife :—“Use this course : keep your house fair and clean, which I know you will, and every evening throw water before your door and in your back court, and have in your windows good store of rue, the · herb of grace,' and withal the grace of God, which must be obtained by prayers ; and so doing, no doubt but the Lord will mercifully defend you." Had Joan addressed herself to her archbishop, Whitgift, or to Bishop Aylmer of London, or Cowper of Winchester, in whose diocese Southwark then lay, she could not have received more ghostly counsel or more sensible encouragement. That Joan's house would be fair and clean her husband knew; his allusion to the fact proves that in the honest actor's household there was happy observation of the old national proverb then in vogue, and which says
that “In English homes cobwebs and kisses never go together.”
If we would learn whether grave carriage and good works characterized the brotherhood of actors generally as well as they did individual members of it, we must look in at the Blackfriars Theatre, A.D. 1608.
The company there are in deep concern. The corporation authorities have just given them sudden notice to quit, the site of the house being wanted for other purposes. This notice brings ruin to some, embarrassment to all. Shakspeare was not in London that year, but Shakspeare's friend was; and Lord Southampton was the friend of the actors. He drew up a memorial of the players' case, and laid it before the corporation. It is a lengthy document, which closes with some remarkable, or rather, noble words. Referring to his clients, Lord Southampton says :-" Their trust and suit now is, not to be molested in their way of life, whereby they maintain themselves (being both married and of good reputation), as well as the widows and orphans of some of their dead fellows." This is splendid testimony in behalf of professional character, and it satisfactoriy proves that already, in those early days, there was a sort of general theatrical fund, and that the branch banks were in the hearts of the actors.
That the brotherhood of players never lacked grave, sober, thoughtful members, no better proof could be produced than the fact that the profession has furnished several saints, penitents, and confessors to the Roman Catholic and Greek calendars, viz., St. Genesius (or Genest), St. Gelasics, St. Porphyrus, St. Ardeleo, and the beautiful Margaret of Antioch, known in religion as St. Pelagia. Of the story of the first and noblest on this respectable muster-roll, there are numerous records ; and there is one noble tragedy, the “St. Genest” of Rotrou, a dramatic writer, who began his career before Corneille commenced his, and who, in the piece in ques. tion (which was revived two or three years ago, with Beauvalet for the hero,) unites the romantic with the classical, and contrasts the happ: sociality of the actors with the isolated dignity of Diocletian and his court. Briefly told, the story. of Genesius is this. In representing before Cæsar the part of Adrian, a convert to Christianity, he stepped beyond his limits as actor, and publicly declared that the sentiments to which he had girea expression were, from that moment, his own. No persuasion could win him back to the imperial orthodoxy, and Genesius has earned a place in history as the proto-martyr of the stage.
It may be thought that Genesius, being a tragedian, was necessarily : man of profound reflection; but the reign of Diocletian contributes anothe: actor convert from Paganism to Christianity, in the person of a low comedian, whose very name, Gelasius,— which might be interpreted Mr. Jolly,—seems to refer to his peculiar line. Gelasius was plati at Heliopolis, in Phænicia, the part of a Christian buffoon, in a satirical play. In the very height of the effects he was wont to produce, be stepped forward, expressed his regret at uttering what had been set down for him, and his determination never to repeat such blasphemy again, now that he was a candidate for the rite of baptism. This announcement was not made in presence of Cæsar, but it was uttered in the hearing of s sovereign people quite as cruel. As soon as the audience understood that they were about to lose their best comic actor, by his becoming Christiar. they dragged him from his dressing-room into the street, and stoned the poor fellow to death,
Porphyrus (not, of course, to be confounded with Porphyrius,) was a "genteel comedian ” of Andrinopolis, and of Julian's time. He was a man of infinite modesty ; less demonstrative, perhaps, than his predecessors who had boldly published their conversion in the presence of pitiless heathen audiences, but he was equally determined. He withdrew from the stage quietly, to give himself up to an active support of Christianity; but Julian the Apostate was not a man to suffer a player to be a free inquirer in religion. What he arrogated for himself he prohibited to others, and the graceful Porphyrus was flung to the executioner. The fate of Ardeleo, under Justinian, was so nearly a repetition of that of Porphyrus that it is only necessary to record it.
The name of Pelagia, or St. Pelagie, is associated with uneasy memories, as far as its connection with the prison for debt in Paris is concerned, but it has its bright side, in reference to the brilliant actress of Antioch, who was the delight of that celebrated city, but who was not 80 absorbed by her profession as to be unable to find leisure to go and hear the great out-of-door preacher Nonnus,-the stirrer of pulses, in his day. The actress Margaret once lay listening to him, from her chariot, as it stood blocked by the crowd in front of the Cathedral, on the topmost step of which, Nonnus was holding forth, with a semicircle of glittering prelates seated in state behind him. The eyes of the preacher fell on the lovely lady, and he exclaimed that so much beauty was God's work, and for the soul that dwelt within so splendid a temple, there was salvation, if she would only accept it. Margaret went thoughtfully home, and soon came to a resolution. She embraced Christianity, and retired from Antioch. For long subsequent years, she might be seen in her modest retirement on Mount Olivet, or kneeling in prayer on the steps of the Church at Jerusalem, under the name of Pelagia, but all who saw that noble and thoughtful lady well knew that she was the Margaret who of old had been the very pearl of actresses in the great theatre at Antioch.
In addition to the canonized players, there are others who hold honourable position on the record of holy personages, in the character of confessors, penitents, and the like. These belong to various countries. Summer tourists will remember one at least, whose shrine they may have visited in the course of their well-earned holiday.
There is a little village in the Tyrol, called Castelruth, with a chapel on a hill close by, which contains the shrine of one of the most remarkable of the Saints of the Stage. This saint was the queen of the ballet in the middle ages, the most impassioned of expressive pantomimists, with cloquence in every look and gesture, language in eye, hand, foot, and a most subduing beauty in her whole person. Slie was more charming than her name, which was Kummernitz; and more lovely than the statue now before her shrine, on the chin of which is a very magnificent beard, which any one may sce growing, if he will only wait long and look sharp enough. A bearded ballerina does not seem a likely person to break the hearts of lovers, but the truth is that Kummernitz was endowed with the